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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Iowa Legislators Consider Intrastate Online Poker

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This could be a very positive trend for the poker industry. Another state began official consideration of intrastate online poker, taking after California and New Jersey state legislatures. Iowa now joins that group, and should discussions progress at a rapid pace, it could be the first state to formally realize and take advantage of the millions of dollars in revenue available from the online poker business.

Currently, the proposal is in the developmental stages, as a group of legislators from both sides of the aisle are joining efforts to research and flesh out the potential legislation. Republican Doug Struyk of Council Bluffs is reported to be the leader of the group, and others assisting include fellow Republicans Peter Cownie and Jeff Kaufmann, and Democrats Brian Quirk, Michael Reasoner, Kirsten Running, and William Dotzler.

The issue was introduced to the public at a forum hosted by IowaPolitics.com and featuring legislators and other speakers. Most notable of the facts released is that the industry could bring approximately $11.5 million per year in revenue to the state.

The proposal is fairly detailed in its early stages, noting that online poker on the intrastate level would be filtered through Iowa’s land-based casinos. Players located within the state of Iowa would be allowed to open accounts for deposits between $50 and $500 in person at state casinos to verify residence and then be allowed to play on state-approved internet poker sites with those funds. An additional stipulation will require that deposits be made with cash or debit cards only, as credit cards would be prohibited.

The opposition, as suspected, has already been vocal about the issue. Democratic Representative Mary Mascher told the Des Moines Register, “There are a lot of things in Iowa that are illegal, but it doesn’t mean we should legalize it.” Her stance was also supported by many state residents and organizations.

But in support of the issue was the aforementioned Rep. Struyk, who said, “Approximately 50,000 people in the state of Iowa participate in illegal online gaming. The discussion we are having about account deposit wagers would put caps on it, regulate it through the Racing and Gaming Commission. We would take something that Iowans are currently being abused on by out-of-country, unregulated entities and allow the state to put constraints on it.”

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